Fantastic Flavours Pty Ltd
From my point of view there are two types of spirits.
1. Those made using a fractionating column
2. Those made using a pot still
Vodka, Gin and other most liqueurs use alcohol distilled using a fractionating column. The idea is to produce super clean alcohol, absolutely no flavor.
Whiskey, Cognac, Bourbon, Rum and Tequila are all made using pot stills.
This means impure alcohol with flavours from the original carbohydrate source. Such alcohol often contains high levels of iso amyl alcohol and other impurities (called fusel oils)
One more thing “copper” is the key component in traditional stills. This acts as a catalyst removing any thiols present giving a cleaner spirit. Now, I am not an expert on this and have gleamed most of the information from “home brew and moonshine web articles and my own experience as a flavourist” so do your own research.
Now the very strange thing about Whiskey, Rum, Cognac, Bourbon and Tequila is the aging process that requires Oak either natural or charred. It’s so strange that the key is Oak. That magical ingredient that exudes vanillin and oak lactone. The aging process is also linked to oak as the stored spirit expands and contracts with the seasons going deeper and deeper into the oak extracting more flavour. Very little credit for the aging process is given to trans esterification or acetal formation. It makes me think what is wrong with vanilla extract?
One thought is that the quality of the spirits is determined by expert blending. Scotch with a smoky aroma can be blended with one with low or no smoke aroma to obtain the optimum level.
So if you want to make your own whiskey, ferment your barley, distill your spirit in a copper still and age in oak barrels. What could be simpler?
Same with rum but its sugar molasses you must ferment. With rum there is a term " slow ferment" this I think is a key factor. As well as yeast there are other bacteria which produce acids and alcohols that lay the foundations for the fruity aroma of rum.There are many much more detailed explanations’ on this site from more expert people than me, so please read!
The flavour industry has started to make oak extracts which have some success but for me the traditional method is probably the best.
Have a look at this The chemistry of whisky flavour
*Brandy + Age + Oak = Cognac
*Ref. Cognac by Nicholas Faith
With light rums you also have to remove the dark rum flavour but preserve some of the seet sugery aroma of the molasses and again a fractionating colum and no barrels is best in my opinion.Sotolon is found in Rum and gives a sweet sugar aroma at dilution.( also found in fenugreek)
This has been added to a new gallery titled distill.
Absinthe flavour is mainly anethol
By Chris Benjamin, Special to the Free Press
As I sit here staring at my thermometer hovering around negative numbers, I can’t help but close my eyes and wish I was somewhere that snow, wind chills and ice are myths and children’s stories. This time year, I believe a lot of Vermonters are thinking like me. And seeing how I’m an hour away from deadline for my article and all I can think about is tropical weather, and it just happens to be citrus season, I figured it might be a good time to do a rum drink and explain the nuances of rum to you, the avid reader.
Rum, a liquor that is fermented and distilled from sugar cane byproducts such as molasses, has its roots traced back for centuries, if not thousands of years. There is some speculation that rum was first discovered in either ancient China or India, and significant evidence that dates to the days of Marco Polo in the late 14th century where he found a “very good wine of sugar” from what is now modern day Iran.
Barbados is granted the official first true distillation of the spirit, and the Caribbean islands themselves still serve some of the best rum found in the world (though it is produced in the States, Australia, Canada and Germany among others).
Rum has strong ties with Britain’s Royal Navy (who continued to give sailors a daily ration up until the abolishment of this practice in 1970 by Queen Elizabeth) as well as piracy (due in part to the novel “Treasure Island” but also because the English Privateers who traded heavily in this particular commodity became pirates and that love of rum continued with them).
Today, there are many different classes of rum. Most rum is aged in oak, which imparts its flavors of vanilla and spice to the liquor, but some are left clear, which are better for mixing. Here are the categories you can find in rum:
• Light Rums: Known also as silver or white, these rums tend to be your best for mixing with juices and mix bases. Besides having sweetness, the flavors of these rums are not very pronounced.
• Gold Rums: A medium-bodied rum, these spend time in white oak casks that have been charred slightly on the inside. Typically having more spice components as well as hints of vanilla and nutmeg, these rums are the in-between choice for those who are looking for more flavor than a light rum but not so heavy as the dark rums.
• Spiced Rums: These baby’s have been “seasoned,” if you will, with natural and artificial spices, such as nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, clove, etc., to create a more complex and distinct flavor. Captain Morgan’s is a good example of a spiced rum.
• Over-proof Rums: Created simply for the joy of getting completely hammered — and to help pyromaniacs set drinks on fire — these rums typically have a proof of 150 or better.
• Dark Rums: The darkest of rums (also known as black rum), these spend time aging in highly charred oak casks for several months, and have strong flavors of caramel, spices and molasses. These rums tend to be higher in alcohol, and add a little get-up-and-go to the rum drinks. They are also the most popular rum used for cooking.
• Flavored Rums: Generally using a light rum as a base, these rums are artificially flavored to make it easier for you to mix your drinks. Malibu, a coconut-flavored rum, is a popular variety that you can find in almost any liquor store. You can drink them on the rocks or neat, but I recommend that you mix them with your drinks.
• Premium Rums: Similar to high-end cognac or whiskey, these rums are generally aged for many years and are carefully crafted. They are created by boutique crafters and have many complex flavor and aroma components. These are generally sipped neat or on the rocks by themselves, and almost have a whiskey like nature to them.
Now that you have a little knowledge of rums, I would like to share with you a recipe that my bar manager Mark Elwell gave to me. Not only does it look pretty cool, but it tastes good, too. So sit back, close your eyes, and pretend you’re on island time sitting in the sand taking in the sunshine. Drink enough of these, and I guarantee you’ll feel the warmth in your toes. Enjoy, mahn.
The Spirit of Benji is a weekly feature with Chris Benjamin. Benjamin, 31, is director of food and beverage at the Essex Resort and Spa/NECI in Essex. Each week, Benjamin — whose nickname is Benji — will offer a recipe for a cocktail you can make at home.Additional Facts
1-and-one-quarter ounces Bacardi Rum (light rum)
Three-quarters ounces Malibu Rum (flavored rum)
4 ounces orange juice
4 ounces pineapple juice
Three-quarters ounces Grenadine
One-half ounce Myers Rum (Dark Rum)
In a pint glass, combine Bacardi, Malibu, orange and pineapple juices. Shake vigorously with ice. In a chilled Collins glass, fill with ice and add grenadine to the glass.
Top grenadine with drink in shaker. Add a floater of the Myer’s dark on top. Garnish with a lime, and splice the main beam — pirate slang for double the rations of rum.
"Our favourite gin. This has a very complex flavour compared to a lot of other gins, with a strong touch of lemon. This might stop it from being as good a mixer as some others, but it's a real delight to just sip it on a hot Sunday afternoon.
Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin: A good quality gin. It claims to be special as 10 different plants get used to flavour it. Whatever is done, it works. I've seen this stuff described as the world's best gin. It might even be true. Glen claims the term "quality gin" is a contradiction in terms.
T **** G ** "
Thanks to the University of Queensland for these insights!
Thanks to the University of Queensland for these insights!
Whiskey is a barrel-aged distilled spirit made from grain or malt. It differs from other types of grain alcohol in that it absorbs colour and flavour from the barrels during aging, it retains more flavour from the fermented mash by being distilled at a lower proof and being less thoroughly filtered. As a result, it is much more flavoursome than vodka. Unlike gin and akvavit, it doesn't have other flavourings added.
There are many different types of whiskey. These are distinguished from each other by the way in which they are made, what they are made from, and where they are made.
American blended whiskey must be at least 20% straight whiskey. Bulked out with neutral grain spirit, sherry can be added for colour. If it contains 51% or more of the appropriate straight whiskey, it can be designated as blended bourbon or blended rye.
Australian whiskey is made from barley, maize and millet. Australian malt whiskey must be 100% barley malt, and must be aged for at least two years. Australian blended whiskey must be 25% or more malt, and also be aged for at least two years. Most Australian whiskey drinkers opt for Scotch or bourbon.
Bonded whiskey, or bottled in bond, is a whiskey produced in the USA aged under government supervision. Must be 100 proof, and aged for at least four years, and is produced from a single distillation.
Bourbon is produced in the USA, and must be distilled from a mash containing 51-79% maize (corn). It must be aged a minimum of two years. It must be distilled to no more than 80% alcohol. If it is younger than four years, this must be stated on the bottle. Bourbon is usually double-distilled, to about 65% alcohol. The mash is often over 75% maize, with the remainder being malted barley and rye. All bourbons today are sour mash bourbons.
Canadian whisky must be aged for a minimum of three years, and can be made from rye, maize and barley or barley malt. Most Canadian whiskies are blends with a very high content of neutral spirit. Up to 2% by volume can be added flavourings, such as sherry, plum wine, etc.
Corn whiskey is US whiskey distilled from 80% or more maize. The legal version of moonshine.
De Luxe whisky - some blends are described as "De Luxe"; currently all De Luxe Scotch is at least 35% malt whisky, but this is not required, and in any case, is sometimes exceeded by non-de luxe blends.
Irish whiskey is made in Ireland, aged for a minimum of three years. Most Irish whiskies are blends, Irish malts are usually unpeated.
Malt whisk(e)y is distilled from barley malt. A large number of malt whiskies are made in Scotland, others in other countries, such as Japan, New Zealand and Germany.
Rye whiskey is distilled from a mash containing at least 51% rye.
Scotch whisky is distilled in Scotland, and aged a minumum of three years. Scotch can be either malt or grain whisky; the overwhelming majority of Scotch sold is a blend of both. Some blends have caramel added to colour them. Most Scotch is double-distilled. Scottish malts are often heavily flavoured with peat smoke.
Sour mash whiskey is made by adding some of the previous batch to the new mash. All bourbons and Tennessee whiskeys today are sour mash whiskeys.
Straight Whiskey is pure whiskey, undiluted by neutral spirit or other flavourings. In the USA, straight whiskey must be aged in charred barrels.
Tennessee whiskey is similar to bourbon, with same 51-79% corn mash, minimum of two years aging. However, it is also charcoal filtered, or charcoal mellowed by the Lincoln County process, adding extra flavour and smoothness.
The first step is producing the mash, either from grain, heated and treated with enzymes, or barley malt, or a mixture of both. In a sour mash whiskey, some of the last batch is added to the new mash. Once this is fermented, it is distilled.
Distillation can either be in pot stills, or continuous stills (Coffey stills). Double distillation is usual, Irish whiskey is usually triple distilled. Distillation to about 60% -80% alcohol is usual. If it is distilled to too high a proof, too much flavour is lost.
Once distilled, the new spirit is aged in barrels, usually oak barrels. Sometimes old barrels previously used for port, sherry or bourbon are used, sometimes new barrels are used. Barrels are usually charred on the inside. A relatively new development is the stainless steel barrel with an oak lid, with a few pieces of charred wood tossed in for more effect.
At one end of the scale are whiskeys usually drunk mixed, either simply with Coke, or in some of the traditional whiskey cocktails. At the other extreme are whiskies usually drunk straight. Sometimes with ice, sometimes with a little water added to help liberate the flavour.
At any rate, if you enjoy it, you must be doing it right.
Some people might try to tell you that bourbon must be made in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Not true, as it can be made anywhere in the USA, even Alaska if you wished. There are currently no whiskey distilleries in Bourbon County.
The Baptist preacher Elijah Craig is rumoured to be the inventor of bourbon. At any rate, he was an early distiller, and is sometimes credited with the invention of charred barrel aging.
The founder of the Laphroaig Distillery, Donald Johnston, died a true distiller's death when he drowned in a barrel of half-finished whisky.
The Tomatin Distillery in Scotland uses some of their cooling water for a heated eel farm.
Whisky Flavour Wheel as devised by the Scotch Whisky Research Institute.
Paul Clarke, Special to The Chronicle
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Whether it's because someone special on your list loves single malts, or because the crush of in-laws has you wishing for something stronger than Chardonnay, the holiday season is the perfect time to explore good whiskies.
In recent years many distillers have been investigating how different types of barrels affect the flavor of the spirit aged inside. Whiskies that have been creatively aged or "cask-finished" (poured into barrels that previously held sherry, port or other wines or spirits at the end of their maturation period) have become more prominent on store shelves.
Here are a few whiskies that illustrate the different effects of cask aging. Each is appropriate for holiday entertaining, as a gift for someone on your list, or for simply sipping during the season for a little holiday cheer.
Note: Look for the whiskies listed at such stores as John Walker & Co., K&L Wine Merchants, and D&M Wines and Liquors.
Over the past six years The Balvenie has demonstrated a particular aptitude for cask-finishing its Speyside malt whisky. In October the distillery released The Balvenie Madeira Cask 17 Year Old ($135), the latest in a series of cask-finished whiskies that has included spirits finished in rum, sherry and Islay malt casks. Madeira casks lend this whisky a plummy richness, with an aroma of baked apples and winter spices, a flavor tinged with dates and vanilla, and a rich, honeyed texture. Released in a limited edition of 24,000 bottles in the United States, this whisky has a hearty character that makes it an exceptional antidote for the cold, dark winter season.
When it was introduced last year, Ardmore Traditional Cask ($45) joined a bottling of Laphroaig as only the second single malt on the market to be finished in small 110-liter quarter casks, which accentuate the interaction between wood and whiskey. After an initial aging of six to 12 years in bourbon casks, Ardmore undergoes this quarter-cask finishing for another six to 12 months. This second maturation lends this lightly smoky peated Highland malt a subtle intensity of spice and a long, succulent finish. Relatively new to the U.S. market, Ardmore is experimenting with other types of cask-finishing, including maturing whisky in cognac and port barrels, as well as working with a "triple wood" whisky aged in bourbon barrels, quarter casks and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks.
One of the more innovative (and, in some traditionalist circles, controversial) figures in the world of whisky, Compass Box founder John Glaser delighted whisky fans and some critics while angering the Scotch Whisky Association in 2005 when he introduced The Spice Tree, which was finished by inserting staves of French oak into the barrel to enhance the wood's character in the spirit. Forced to discontinue the whisky under legal threats, Glaser reintroduced The Spice Tree this fall ($70), this time avoiding the SWA's lawyers by dispensing with the additional staves and instead finishing the mixture of Highland malts for up to two years in barrels with heads made of heavily toasted French oak. As with the earlier release, this emphasis on the wood produces a big, robust whisky with flavors of vanilla, winter spices, blackberries and leather.
Independent bottler Murray McDavid has released some spectacularly esoteric whisky over the years, and two current releases, both Islay malts, have intriguing barrel finishes. An 8-year-old 2000 Caol Ila finished in Ridge Zinfandel casks ($50) has a spicy, dark-chocolatey complexity with a mild richness. And combining the allure of one of Scotland's most distinctive whiskies with one of France's most distinguished wines, a 10-year-old 1999 Laphroaig finished in Chateau Margaux casks ($73 at K&L Wine Merchants) is pure indulgence in a bottle, with an aroma of smoke, seawater, dried cherries and currants, and a flavor that's a big and chewy mixture of iodine, blackberries and tobacco. Bottled in a very limited edition, this is only for those at the very top of the "Nice" column on Santa's holiday list.
Applying the subtle charms of sherry to a whisky doesn't have to take place at the end of the spirit's maturation; for The Dalmore 15 Year Old ($100), the process starts when the whisky goes into the barrel. While aging scotch in sherry butts is nothing new, The Dalmore takes a different tack by aging its whisky in wood from three types of Gonzalez Byass sherry: Apostoles (see "The Chronicle Recommends, at right), Amoroso and Matusalem. The result is a deep, rich whisky redolent of orange peel and toasted almonds, with a bright, luscious character and a gentle sweetness.
The Scots aren't the only ones tinkering with the intriguing interplay between barrels and booze. For this year's release as part of their annual Master's Collection, Woodford Reserve Distillery in Kentucky introduced the Seasoned Oak Finish ($95). The staves for most bourbon barrels are seasoned - dried and exposed to the air - for three to five months; as its name implies, this whiskey is finished in barrels composed of staves that have been seasoned for up to five years. This additional seasoning reduces the tannins in the wood and produces a new range of flavors for the whiskey to absorb. As a result, the Seasoned Oak Finish has a bombastic aroma and flavor rich with molasses, cocoa, cloves and anise, and a dry, lingering finish that lasts all the way to January.
Paul Clarke is a contributing editor at Imbibe magazine and publisher of the blog The Cocktail Chronicles. E-mail comments to email@example.com.
Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) -- The heady smell wafts through the air at the distillery just north of the Haitian capital. Inside, almost four months of unwelcome silence ended recently when conveyor belts began rolling again, churning out thousands of bottles of pure sugar-cane rum.
It was an especially sweet moment for Thierry Gardere, the general director and fourth generation in his family to run Rhum Barbancourt.
In the 35 seconds that the earth jolted on January 12, Barbancourt lost $4 million, about a third of its annual profit.
Bottles crashed. Wood cracked. Liquid gold spilled onto the floors of the distillery.
Gardere, 58, whose house in upscale Pétionville tumbled, survived the earthquake with a few scrapes and bruises. But the business loss was stunning.
Not since the founding of Barbancourt in 1862 had Haiti's iconic rum maker come to such a startling halt. Haiti's best-known national brand had continued production through dictatorships and brutal repression. And weathered tough times during an early 1990s U.S. trade embargo.
Against all odds, Gardere had kept the distillery going. Until the earthquake.
"For months, we were not able to sell," Gardere said. "It will take awhile to get back into the pipeline."
The company was producing more than 330,000 cases of rum every year, exporting about 20 percent to the United States. After the quake, its 250 workers who lost loved ones and homes were also left without salaries. Now, most have returned to meet steep demand and recoup losses, which optimistically, Gardere said, will take three years.
He wondered how his great-great uncle Dupre Barbancourt might have reacted to the widespread earthquake destruction in Port-au-Prince.
Barbancourt arrived on these shores from France, bringing with him the carefully honed techniques employed to make the world's finest cognac. Unlike other popular Caribbean rums, Barbancourt boasts that it uses only sugar cane -- no molasses -- and distills the sweet stuff twice like cognac before aging it in fine French oak.
Gardere strolled through the distillery, reporter in tow, proudly explaining the rum-making process. Outside, a giant machine chewed up raw sugar cane plucked from nearby fields and spit out fresh juice ready for fermentation.
The company's trusted fans, the fine rum drinkers who savor each sip, included the writer Graham Greene, who decades ago was often spotted with a glass of Barbancourt at Port-au-Prince's famed Oloffson Hotel.
It's a source of great national pride, said Gardere, who is content he stayed in Haiti to run the family business.
The current Barbancourt distillery was constructed in the 1950s, around the time Gardere was born. He grew up with the intoxicating scent of sugar cane, learning the craft of fermentation, distillation and the perfect marriage of air, wood and liquid.
His parents sent him to safety in France after dictator François "Papa Doc" Duvalier rose to power. Fourteen years later, Gardere returned. It was 1976 and business was booming in Haiti. Barbancourt increased production by as much as 50 percent a year.
In 1990, when his father died, Gardere took over the rum distillery. It was in his blood, in Haiti's blood and now, perhaps, in his daughter's, too. His British-educated daughter has expressed interest in helping run the business.
After the quake, people asked Gardere if he intended to start life again somewhere else. But he isn't leaving.
"I've survived a lot of things," he said. "Why should I abandon Haiti now?"
After a noticeable hiatus, Barbancourt rum is back in local bars and restaurants.
"Navy Rum" is not just a name for dark rum. Originally it was the name of a specific type of rum distilled for the Admiralty in wooden pot stills in lieu of the normal metal ones. The distillation of rum in wood imparts a truly unique flavor that can only be described as "full and rich," making most others bland by comparison. This flavor is unique to the wooden process, and cannot be duplicated from any other type of distillation; interestingly Pusser’s is still distilled in the same original Admiralty stills. Rum that is not distilled in wood cannot achieve the unique flavor of a real Navy Rum. While others may have designated their product to be a navy rum by the mere inclusion of the phrase 'Navy Rum' on their label, they can never be a Navy Rum any more than a Rolls Royce logo placed on a Ford doesn't make a Ford a Rolls Royce. A real navy rum has to be distilled in wood.
In the world of spirits production, there are only two production-capacity wooden pot stills remaining in the world. Like single malt whiskeys whose distinct and rich flavors are the product of pot stills (and not the modern continuous still), Pusser's continues to be distilled in the same wooden stills as it has for more than for more than 200 years! These are the original stills that produced the Royal Navy's "Pusser's Rum". They are the bedrock of Navy Rum, the vital part of the distillation process that makes a true Navy Rum like Pusser's so distinctive in its taste and so different from other dark and golden rums that are distilled in ordinary metal stills. Most all rums today are distilled in modern continuous stills that came on line at the turn of the 19th century.
The wooden staves of these two old, stills are impregnated with 200 years of esters and congeners - the organic compounds found naturally in wine and spirits that impart flavor to them. No other stills in the world can reproduce these flavors because all modern stills are made from metal which absorb nothing, and thus have nothing to impart in the way of flavor to a spirit during the distillation process. In contrast, wood soaks up the flavor of whatever it contains. In the case of the wooden stills, continuous usage over hundreds of years has made the wood of these stills extraordinarily flavorful.
Following distillation, all rums are aged for some time in wood because aging in wood imparts smoothness and flavor. But unlike other rums which are bland out of the still, Pusser's begins its aging process with a rich flavor already in place from the distillation process, one that would not be possible without the wooden distillation. Thus when the aging process is completed, the full flavor of Pusser's surpasses by far that of any other rum because the wooden distillation provides an extraordinary head start over anything distilled in metal.
While the rich flavor of Pusser's Rum is natural, most other major rum brands add flavoring agents and sugar to make their products smoother and to give them body. By contrast, Pusser's uses no flavoring agents or sugar. It is all natural.
The photos show the stills from one side. Charles Tobias, Pusser's Chairman, notes that the flavor of Pusser's cannot be replicated because so much of its unique bouquet emanates from the wood of these very old stills. There's no way to produce this flavor in metal because metal absorbs nothing and therefore has nothing to impart to the distillate. Like single malt whiskeys that are also pot stilled, Pusser's is more costly to produce. This is because the stills are old and of wood; they are very inefficient. Pusser’s is still distilled in the same original wooden pot stills that were used to distill the Admiralty’s rum. Most other rums today are distilled in modern continuous stills that are very efficient when compared to wooden distillation that, to the contrary, is very inefficient and therefore significantly more costly. But nothing can touch the flavour that wood imparts to rum that is distilled this way. If we didn't do it like this, it wouldn't be a Navy Rum; it wouldn't taste the same, and it wouldn't be Pusser's Rum.
As for a test of the rich flavor of Pusser's vs. others: try pouring a measured one ounce of Pusser's Rum into a glass filled with ice and a measured 4-ounces of Coca Cola. Then do the same with any other rum, and taste the difference. It is immediate. You will find that PUSSER'S is the only one whose full bouquet punches through the mix. The others, including the Mt. Gay, Appletons, Myers, the Bacardi's and so forth, for the most part will have their taste buried in the Coke. Most will greatly sweeten the drink because of the extra sugar that will have been added to achieve smoothness. By comparison, Pusser's is all natural. No sugar or flavoring agents have been added. It is still the same Admiralty rum, the original Navy Rum, as it has been for more than 300 years.
|FROM SUGAR TO RUM - THE TECHNOLOGY OF RUM MAKING|
The definition of Rum as outlined in the Caribbean Community Standard for Rum, (Revised March 2003) is as follows:
Rum is a spirit drink –
Steps in Rum Making
There are four major processes involved in making rum; fermentation, distillation, aging and blending. The basic principles of rum making are quite simple. The raw materials required are; a source of cane sugar, water and yeast. The juice of the mature sugar cane plant or molasses are most commonly used the raw material for the fermentation process. Fermentation produces the alcohol and is a spontaneous reaction between the yeast and sugar .The yeast, is key to the fermentation process as it can influence the ultimate taste and flavour of the rum.
Distilling separates the alcohol from the fermented mixture and concentrates it to make the actual rum. Distilling equipment and practice varies from place to place thus producing rums of different characters. This rum is aged in oak barrels and ultimately blended to produce the spirit we know as rum
Angostura Limited has been in the business of rum making through its production company, Trinidad Distillers Limited, since 1947. We ferment, distill, age, blend and bottle alcoholic beverages, mainly rum, in Laventille, Trinidad, West Indies. We started with a French designed still made by Savalle capable of producing 5400 litres of alcohol/day to today’s production capacity of over 65,000 litres of alcohol/day. We have 6 ageing warehouses with a total capacity of 80,000 casks. Our bulk storage facilities feature a Tank Farm on the Distillery compound with a capacity of 5.0 million litres and a dock side facility in Chaguaramas with 3.8million litres of tankage. We bottle over 600, 000 cases of rum/year. Exports are mainly to the US, UK, Europe and the rest of the Caribbean.
Molasses is the most widely used raw material for rum production. Its composition varies and depends on the quality of the cane, composition of soil, climatic conditions, methods of harvesting cane, manufacturing process for sugar and handling and storage of molasses. The composition of molasses is referred to as the “quality of the molasses” and is what contributes to quality and intensity of the rum flavour. (Shete, 2000)
Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) used in fermentation:
Louis Pasteur in the mid 1800s discovered that there was actually a single cell microscopic organism responsible for the conversion of fermentable barley malt into alcohol, carbon dioxide and flavour compounds. This microorganism was named yeast – Saccharomyces cerevisiae (a single cellular fungus). In the biochemistry of fermentation, Gay Lussac suggested the following biochemical pathway:
Sugar + Yeast = Alcohol + Carbon Dioxide
Saccharomyces yeast normally converts 88-90% of fermentable sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide. The balance of the sugar is mainly utilized in the fermentation process for cell growth (about 3-5%), glycerol formation (3-5%), and by products that are responsible for flavour and aroma.
Fermentation is a living process. The molasses is diluted with water to reduce the sugar content to approximately 15% and a pure yeast culture is added to the mixture. The yeast cells convert the available sucrose to ethyl alcohol (C2H5OH) and carbon dioxide (CO2) with the release of heat energy. This mixture is called the “live wash”. Fermentation takes approximately 30 hours to be completed during which time the yeast in the mixture uses up the available sugar in the molasses. The liquid left at the end of the fermentation process which is called “dead wash” is used for distillation.
During fermentation, a number of constituents called congeners are also manufactured. These congeners, which are regarded as the rum flavours, are the major constituents of the heavy type rums. They are necessary when blending because they give flavour and character to the rum.
Congeners formed during fermentation:
After fermentation, the fermented wash is fed to the still. Distillation is the process of boiling the “dead wash” and condensing its vapour to produce the alcohol that is collected. The distillation process is done mainly to separate and concentrate the alcohol component of the liquid mixture. During this process, the undesirable congeners are removed and the desirable ones that add significantly to the taste and aroma of the raw rum are retained in the heavy type rum that is distilled from the first distillation column.
The plant uses 5 columns: Hydroselection column
Rectifying column; (70 trays)
Recovery column (45 trays)
Final polishing column.
The distilled product of the mash column or “wash stripper” is referred to as “heavy rum”. For production of light and neutral spirits, the remaining columns are used. Ageing:
After distillation, the rum is drawn off into large stainless steel vessels for storage before being barrelled off into forty gallon oak barrels and moved to the warehouse for ageing. Although the ageing process is not fully understood, it is considered to be the most significant aspect of the rum manufacturing process because the rum improves with age.
Immediately after distillation, the rum, which is a raw clear liquid with a hot harsh taste and an acrid odour still contains small amounts of hydrogen sulphide gas formed during the fermentation process. During ageing many changes occur as a result of the oxidation and selective diffusion though the pores of the oak barrel and the chemical interaction between the congeners. Rum ageing was practiced since the sixteen hundreds when seafarers found that as rum was carried on long journeys in wooden barrels it improved even more and it also became darker in colour. Today all the ageing of rum is done in oak wood barrels that were previously used for the ageing of cognac, wine and predominantly, bourbon. After the barrels are used once for the ageing of other liquours, they are employed in the rum industry as “Once used” barrels. Regulations that require producers of bourbon to use barrels only once assure a steady supply of barrels for the rum industry. Oak wood barrels are used because they do not contribute offensive odours or tastes to the rum during the ageing process .
Oak wood is used for storage because it is tight grained wood capable of making leak proof barrels that are ideal for strong liquids. The size of the radial rays of oak wood is what gives the strength to its barrels and also allows it to meet the characteristics required for storage containers such as porosity, strength resilience workability and lightweight.
There are three types of reactions occurring simultaneously in the barrel during the ageing process. They are
Blending is the secret of fine rum. It allows the master bender to use many different types and styles of rums to create a particular blend or brand. The barrels of rum used for a particular blend are selected with age as the major selection criteria. The skill of blending involves the mixing together of light and heavy type rums of different ages that have been carefully analysed and selected by the blender for the characteristics specified. Through a “marrying process” the different rums are allowed to fuse together to give the blend a smoothing effect. After the rum is blended it is stored in bottling vats and reduced to bottling strength by the addition of deionised water. It is then passed through filters and polishers before being bottled and packaged for sale.
|Other names||Sotolone |
|Molar mass||128.13 g/mol|
|Boiling point|| |
184 °C, 457 K, 363 °F
|Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)|
Sotolon (also known as sotolone) is a lactone and an extremely powerful aroma compound, with the typical smell of fenugreek or curry at high concentrations and maple syrup, caramel, or burnt sugar at lower concentrations. Sotolon is the major aroma and flavor component of fenugreek seed and lovage, and is one of several aromatic and flavor components of artificial maple syrup. It is also present in molasses, aged rum, aged sake and white wine, flor sherry, roast tobacco, and dried fruiting bodies of the mushroom Lactarius helvus. Sotolon can pass through the body relatively unchanged, and consumption of foods high in sotolon, such as fenugreek, can impart a maple syrup aroma to one's sweat and urine. Some individuals with the genetic disorder maple syrup urine disease produce it in their bodies and excrete it in their urine.
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